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5 Ways to Use your Google Search Box

5 Ways to Use your Google Search Box

Did you think that your Google search box was just for searching the web? If so then think again – those folks at Google are the masters of innovation (you only have to look at where they work to see that).

So it’s not surprising that they have made their search box cleverer than most.

Here are 5 ways to use your Google search box that you might just find useful in your lab or office.

1. You have to make a call to an overseas collaborator, but can’t remember what the time difference is. Just type in “time” followed by the name of the city to get it.

2. Can’t find your calculator? You can do your calculation right there in the google search box. e.g. 5*9+10^3.

3. This is one of my favorites. If you need a dictionary definition of a word, just type “define:” followed by the word and Google will pull together definitions from a range of online sources.

4. You can track your UPS, Fedex or USPS package just by typing the tracking number straight into the search box.

5. To find a US patent, type “Patent” followed  by the patent number into the search box.

Do you use any Google shortcuts (or would you like your workplace to be more like the Google HQ)?. Tell us about it in the Bitesize Bio Bistro ! 🙂


  1. Sarvy on November 25, 2009 at 11:43 pm

    If you are using Chrome.. all the functionalities mentioned come in the Omnibar itself. Open your Browser and you are ready to go.. It just gets a little confused when you try a calculation that uses division though..

    and i have used filetype: a lot as well. helps to narrow down the search to what i want.

  2. Fletch on January 4, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Another useful one is specific site search; type in your search terms followed by “site:” and the name of the specific site you wish to search (with no space after with “:”) e.g. “DNA ligase site:promega.com” searches for ‘dna ligase’ only on the promega website

  3. max on December 16, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    currency conversion: e.g. “10 euros to dollar”

  4. Kurt on December 11, 2008 at 5:44 am

    Not strictly a Google tip, but Firefox add-ons like Web Search Pro is very nice to get faster access to different searches. It can be set up for Google, Google Scholar, PubMed, Wikipedia etc.

  5. Daniel on January 16, 2009 at 3:53 am

    I actually use it a lot for jotting down quick notes! It seems a bit odd, and isn’t very flexible, but if I don’t want to be distracted, I just type it in the search box.

    As an added bonus, I can quickly search for what I typed in when I get to it.

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